Ellen DeGeneres accused of calling a ‘defenceless’ 11 year old ‘fat and stupid’ in latest claim of ‘bullying’ behaviour
Ellen DeGeneres has been accused of “bullying” an 11-year-old in the latest broadside to the daytime talk show host’s reputation as a beacon of kindness.
The allegation was levelled by Ben Gravolet, whose mother in Louisana ran a recruitment agency that DeGeneres, he said, worked at before she rocketed to fame.
Speaking to DailyMailTV, Gravolet alleged that DeGeneres, then aged 20, subjected him to a torrent of insults about his weight: “I was just a boy and this was a grown woman who took pleasure in seeing me become visibly upset,” he said.
The 62-year-old has been stung by salvos after salvos of claims that are at odds with her kind image. While a steady drumbeat of celebrities have thrown their weight behind her, former staffers are grabbing megaphones to vocalise what, they say, is the reality of working at The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Allegations of racism, bullying and a playbook of DeGeneres “turning a blind eye” to rampant sexual misconduct by senior-level staffers – one former producer bluntly dubbed her a “toxic, phoney, hypocrite, liar“.
Ellen DeGeneres is ‘the meanest, nastiest, most horrible person’, claims son of former employer.
Gravolet, 52, alleged that DeGeneres worked in the late 1970s as a recruiter in the lakeside New Orleans branch of Snelling Personnel.
“She would criticise my weight,” he said, “I would try to do homework in the office, she’d call me stupid, she’d call me fat.
“She would criticise my clothes,” he said, adding that DeGeneres is: “The meanest, nastiest, most horrible person.”
The Belle Chasse, Louisiana, local continued: “I don’t think there’s any excuse for it. I was a defenceless kid.
“What could I have told her back?
“It has an effect if somebody in a superior position to you, who’s much older, goes, ”You’re fat, you might want to lose some of that weight, chunky boy’.
“I was always self-conscious about my weight and it made things worse.”
Ellen show producers: ‘We realise, as many in the world are learning, that we need to do better.’
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“Anyone who knows me knows it’s the opposite of what I believe and what I hoped for our show,” she said
“I’m also learning that people who work with me and for me are speaking on my behalf and misrepresenting who I am and that has to stop.”
This was later amplified by three of her most senior-ranked members of staff. Executive producers Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner sought to extinguish the accusations by emphasising that the show’s leaders
“Over the course of nearly two decades, 3,000 episodes, and employing more than 1,000 staff members, we have strived to create an open, safe, and inclusive work environment,” they said in the joint statement to Buzzfeed News.
“We are truly heartbroken and sorry to learn that even one person in our production family has had a negative experience. It’s not who we are and not who we strive to be, and not the mission Ellen has set for us.
“For the record, the day to day responsibility of The Ellen Show is completely on us. We take all of this very seriously and we realise, as many in the world are learning, that we need to do better, are committed to do better, and we will do better.”